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On our Stages

On our Stages

The National Theatre has to be the place where the best artists come to make their best work, and we believe these artists should be a reflection of the diversity of this country.

As part of our plan to increase diversity on our stages by 2021, we set a number of publicly available targets to indicate our progress.

By March 2021:

  • 50% of living writers for our stages will be female
  • 50% of directors working on our stages will be female
  • As an average, there will be 50:50 gender balance on stage
  • 20% of writers for our stages will be people of colour
  • 20% of directors working on our stages will be people of colour
  • At least 25% of performers will be people of colour

In 2018-19, in our theatres:

  • 36% of living writers were female
  • 46% of directors were female
  • 47% of performers were female
  • 10% of writers were people of colour
  • 13% of directors were people of colour
  • 33% of performers were people of colour


In 2018-19, we continued to work towards our targets, with a growing number of artistic voices new to the National Theatre. In the last year, over a third of our productions were directed by artists making their NT directing debut.

In addition, the work which played in the West End was largely female-led, with productions including Home, I’m Darling, Nine Night, Consent, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The New Work department is the core creative engine of the organisation, working to develop a broad spectrum of innovative artists and projects for our stages, and beyond. In 2018-19 over 1,500 writers, directors, actors and creatives were contracted by our New Work department – that cohort identified themselves as 52% female, 30% BAME, and 17% disabled.

ProFile Performers, our video casting database designed to showcase D/deaf and disabled talent, celebrated its first birthday and was shortlisted for The Stage’s Innovation Award. The service now features over 200 performers and has been accessed by almost 5,000 unique users. Every casting process at the NT now uses ProFile Performers, and the platform has facilitated castings at the Old Vic, RSC and Manchester Royal Exchange, as well as in film and television.